VPA Position Description & Candidate Profile


The vice-president, academic and provost, reporting to the president, is the chief academic officer of the university, the chief advisor to the president, and has overall responsibility for students, and all academic programs including quality assurance and the resources used in their delivery. Responsible for providing academic vison and leadership for the university, the vice-president, academic and provost is the senior vice-president and serves as acting president in the absence of the president. The position is responsible for the recruitment, assessment and development of academic staff, academic planning, program assessment and instructional development.

The following positions report to the vice-president, academic:

  • Vice-provost & associate vice-president, academic
  • Vice-provost & associate vice-president, students and international
  • Vice-provost & associate vice-president, learning and teaching
  • Deans of the Faculties of Applied Sciences; Arts and Social Sciences; Beedie School of Business; Communication, Art and Technology; Education; Environment; Health Sciences; Science
  • Dean of Lifelong Learning
  • Dean & associate provost, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Chief information officer (dual report with VP finance & administration)
  • Executive director, VPA
  • Executive director, Faculty Relations
  • Executive director, Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (dual report with VP External)
  • Director, Office for Aboriginal Peoples

The vice-president, academic chairs the following standing committees:

  • SCUP (Senate Committee on University Priorities)
  • SCEMP (Senate Committee on Enrolment Management and Planning)
  • Deans' Search Committees
  • Faculty Review Committee (Tenure and Promotion Appeals)
  • University Salary Appeals Committee
  • IT Strategies Committee
  • Deans’ Council

The vice-president, academic is a member of the following standing committees:

  • Senate
  • SCAR (Senate Committee on Agenda and Rules)
  • Senate Library Committee
  • University-Wide Aboriginal Steering Committee
  • Joint Operations Group: Joint committee with student societies on shared priorities


The candidate qualifications: The Search Committee recognizes that no candidate for vice-president, academic and provost is likely to meet all the following criteria in equal measure; nevertheless, the following academic characteristics, administrative experience and approach, and personal qualities are seen to be highly desirable:

Strategic and visionary

  • Clear vision of the opportunities and challenges ahead for comprehensive research universities, with an understanding of how universities are evolving and how transformation is initiated and implemented.
  • Ability to collaboratively formulate, articulate and implement a shared academic vision and strategy for the university.

Decolonization, Indigenization and Reconciliation

  • Through demonstrated past achievement and commitment, will be an advocate for Indigenous faculty, staff and students, and will actively pursue the goals of decolonization, indigenization and reconciliation and continued delivery of the Report of the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC)

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

  • A deep understanding of and proven commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and a demonstrated track record of supporting and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion principles and objectives within a complex organization.
  • Experience in addressing the social and systemic exclusion of equity-seeking groups in all institutional systems, practices and procedures.

Academic advocate

  • A committed advocate, internally and externally, for the role of a comprehensive university in society and engagement with its community.
  • Energetic in promoting the positive relationship between research and teaching, academic freedom, and a strong commitment to teaching, research and scholarship.
  • Strong commitment to research excellence and the university’s research mission in close co-operation with the vice-president, research and international.
  • Appreciates diverse forms of scholarship.

Student champion

  • Cares about students and understands the factors that affect students’ experience, learning, mental health, accessibility and achievement.
  • Has demonstrated experience promoting and rewarding excellence in teaching and learning environments.
  • Enjoys interacting with students and student societies, and has experience developing strategies to engage students. A positive commitment to improving the student experience.

Values based leader

  • An ‘enabling’ view of leadership with an awareness of the need for openness, change and team building. Accepts and provides mentorship and supports professional development.
  • A respectful, positive, compassionate, inclusive, and engaging leadership style.
  • Leads with integrity, transparency, empathy and trustworthiness.
  • Highly effective team leader and team member, with the demonstrated ability to build and work with a collegial and collaborative approach.

Communication skills

  • Positive, clear and articulate communicator. Able to listen actively, engage in meaningful dialogue, and communicate effectively with a wide array of individuals and groups.
  • Effective at communicating to the general public through the various forms of media and public events.
  • Experience successfully managing controversial issues in an academic environment.

Relationship and trust building

  • Has high emotional intelligence, exhibits humility, and engages naturally with others.
  • Culturally sensitive and internationally aware.
  • Can motivate others and build trust through an open, respectful and collegial approach.

Administrative experience and management acumen

  • Outstanding record of academic leadership, planning and budget management as a vice-president, dean, or associate vice-president at a research-intensive university.
  • Able to effectively and collegially lead and oversee a broad range of academic, financial, human resource, planning, infrastructure, enrolment and other functions across a complex, multi-campus organization.
  • Brings the energy and time management skills required to be successful in this demanding position.
  • Canadian experience is a definite asset.

Academic qualifications

  • An exemplary record as an educator and researcher. Appointable as a full professor at SFU.

Review candidate ad

Any interested candidates are asked to contact:

Brent Cameron, managing partner, Boyden